The Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced on April 26 the launch of the Molecular Analyzer for Efficient Gas-phase Low-power Interrogation—“MAEGLIN”—program, a multi-year research effort to ultimately develop a compact system capable of unattended environmental sampling and chemical identification with minimal (preferably no) consumables. If successful, the technology developed under the program would enable multi-year chemical monitoring of hard-to-access sites without the need of maintenance, reagent replenishing, or other activities that would require regular human intervention.
“MAEGLIN will enable identification of a broad spectrum of chemicals in the field with laboratory-quality sensitivity and specificity,” said Kristy DeWitt, MAEGLIN program manager at IARPA.
The MAEGLIN program involves two phases. The first phase of the program includes basic research to develop components that can address at least one of the following three thrust areas:
- Collection – low power, reversible gas phase collection and pre-concentration with optional solid/liquid phase collection and volatilization;
- Separation – non-destructive fractionation of collected chemical mixtures with the ability to “bleed off” selected fractions, if desired; and
- Identification – high accuracy identification of pure compounds or mixtures of a few chemicals via a large and adaptable library.
The second phase will culminate in a demonstration of low-power collection, separation, and identification of chemical targets via an integrated system which incorporates components developed during Phase One.
Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement process, IARPA has awarded phase one contracts to teams led by BAE Systems, Hamilton-Sundstrand, Leidos, MassTech, Signature Science, SRI, and the University of Michigan, with subcontracts to a range of academic and small business organizations.